Opening Bell: Italy race to bailout oldest bank, Hailo merging with mytaxi, iPhone's falling sales

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Italy was racing to arrange a privately-backed bailout of troubled lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena last night.

Its rescue plan includes raising €5 billion of further capital to avoid nationalisation.

The bank is Italy's oldest and third largest by assets. It has been bailed out twice by the state and raised €8 billion in capital over the past two years.

The pressure is on to secure a bailout before the publication of European banking stress test results on Friday night, which the loss-making lender is widely expected to fail.

According to the Irish Times, people involved in the talks have admitted that negotiations could go beyond the weekend, which would put potentially lethal pressure on Monte dei Paschi and other Italian banks when markets reopen on Monday.

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Ulster Bank has moved to reassure customers that small businesses and ordinary depositors will not be charged for keeping cash in the bank.

Ulster Bank's owner, the Royal Bank of Scotland, wrote to UK customers and NatWest account holders yesterday to warn them that banks may begin charging for deposits if official British interest rates fall below zero.

The Bank of England's rate is currently 0.5% but is expected to be cut at least once this year.

While the ECB's official rate – which affects Ireland – is already at zero, lenders here have not started charging personal account holders and SMEs for deposits.

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Hailo is looking to increase employee numbers in Ireland and roll out new services as it merges with Daimler's mytaxi.

The proposed merger will create Europe's largest e-hailing company, with Hailo set to rebrand as mytaxi in Ireland by the middle of 2017.

It means MyTaxi's app features will become available to Irish users, and that they will be able to use their existing app in six additional European countries.

Daimler, which owns the Mercedes-Benz car brand, will have a 60% of the company, with Hailo shareholders owning the other 40%.

Hailo launched here in April 2012 and now has over 10,000 registered drivers carrying up to 45,000 passengers a day.

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Apple's profits fell 27% in its last quarter to just over €7 billion, as iPhone sales continue to struggle.

The tech company reported that sales of its flagship product fell for a second consecutive quarter.

However, the 15% drop was not as bad as analysts had predicted.

Apple sold 40.4 million iPhones in its third quarter.

Orders for iPhone have stalled as users wait for the details of the iPhone 7 to be revealed.

By far Apple’s greatest revenue earner, the iPhone accounts for two thirds of its sales, and a larger percentage of its profit.